Monday, April 27, 2015

Chapter 57 - "Release Of Atomic Energy": Part 5 - War's End

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Pearl seemed to have passed the worst part of her illness. She got married in November 1945 and Alfred, of course, felt delighted at such good news. The end of the year had turned into a busy time for him. Before the Holiday seminar, now an annual event, he and Kendig had gone to San Francisco in late October to give two seminars. Earlier in the year, the United Nations had been founded there, taking over the mantle from the defunct League of Nations as the new international body for promoting world peace. Korzybski wondered how much good it would actually be able to accomplish. 

At the end of 1945, the world seemed rather far from the adulthood of humanity—not anywhere close. And it didn’t seem likely to get much closer in Korzybski’s lifetime. The Allied nations had won the war, but he only needed to think of the millions dead, injured, and homeless to get further confirmation that the old aristotelian system remained intact as the ‘thought’ system that ruled the world—‘logical fate’ with a vengeance.

The fate of Poland remained a particular sore spot for him. I imagine him with tears in his eyes when he looked at pictures of his devastated homeland, now under Stalinist control. The front cover of his October 11 copy of The Polish Review showed before and after pictures of the “Royal Castle” on Castle Square, about a forty-five minute walk from his family’s old apartment house. (The Royal Castle had served as the seat of the Polish King and Sejm (Parliament) before the 1795 partition.) The Nazis had deliberately leveled the iconic building shortly after putting down the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. In the foreground, a small human figure stood next to a piece of the toppled pillar of King Zygmunt III lying on the ground. The advancing Soviet Russian army had waited on the other side of the Vistula while the retreating Germans—as their final punishment for Polish resistance—destroyed as much of the rest of Warsaw as they could. When the Russians entered the city in January 1945, most of Korzybski’s hometown lay in ruins. 

The fate of the Jews after the war remained another sore spot. By the end of 1945, the stories and pictures of death-camp survivors, and of those who hadn’t survived, had already had a number of months to seep into public consciousness. The meticulous German engineering of genocide had begun to be openly revealed at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, which started in November. Douglas Kelley had begun working as psychiatrist at the Nuremburg Jail earlier in the year, examining and interviewing many of those who would go on trial. (He would leave after the first month of the proceedings and shortly thereafter write a book, 22 Cells in Nuremberg, about his experiences.) It was becoming clear that the Nazi Germans and their helpers throughout Europe had succeeded in murdering, largely in organized industrial fashion, about six million European Jews, one third of all of world Jewry. Of course, the Nazis had targeted other groups as well, but the sheer number of Jewish victims and the systematic way in which the Germans killed them—simply for the fact of their ‘Jewishness’ as the Nazis defined that characteristic—beggered the imagination. It would take some time, indeed years, for the greater import of the atrocities to sink in—and even then...

Whatever his horror at what had happened, the Nazi atrocities certainly didn’t take Korzybski by surprise. In 1941, in the “Introduction to the Second Edition” of Science and Sanity, he had predicted that Nazi Germany under Hitler would try to destroy the Jews. At the end of 1945 many survivors waited in displaced person camps in Europe while various Jewish organizations tried to lift the British ban on Jewish entry into Palestine or to sneak Jews into Jewish Palestine despite the ban. The Palestinian Jewish community seemed on the way to forming a state, which Korzybski had long supported—having declared himself sympathetic to Zionism in the 1920s. For several years he had been telling many of his Jewish friends and students, and also close friends like Cassius Keyser, that he sincerely believed “world problems can not be solved without solving the Jewish problem,...” And, as he wrote in 1944 to a German Jewish emigre psychiatrist Richard D. Loewenberg, “...the Jewish problem can not be solved on racial or territorial grounds alone...there is nothing else for us to do than to put every kind of international problems on a strictly non-racial neutral impersonal scientific basis, and that’s what we are trying to do.”(21) 

Korzybski had been trying to figure out the relation of Jews and Judaism to him and his work for quite some time—at least since 1920, when he became conscious of the antisemitism he had absorbed and succumbed to, however superficially, by that time. He had had to work to overcome it in himself. (Perhaps this provided one reason for his heightened sensitivity and early recognition to the dangers of Hitlerism.) But he clearly hadn’t figured out a solution to what he called “the Jewish problem” even now—except in these most general terms. He had recognized strong non-aristotelian elements in the Jewish tradition and he strongly felt that somehow both Jews and Gentiles would have to come to terms with what that meant in more detail—as would he.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
21. AK to Richard D. Loewenberg, Feb. 3, 1944. IGS Archives.

< Part 4 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Classic Korzybski Quote: "On Human-Being and Time"

Would that Heidegger could write as clearly as this: 
Perhaps, neurologically, animals feel similarly as we do about`time', but they have no neurological means to elaborate linguistic and extra-neural means which alone allow us to extend and summarize the manifold experience of many generations (time-binding) . They cannot pass from `time' to `times'. Obviously, if we do not, we then renounce our human characteristics, and copy animals in our evaluating processes, a practice which must be harmful." —Alfred Korzybski, ( Science and Sanity, p. 231)

From The Stray Thought Bin: "It's only paranoic..."

It's only 'paranoic'* until it isn't. 

* Notice the single quotes ('_') around the word "paranoic" in the sentence above: an example of single quotes as a korzybskian extensional device

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chapter 57 - "Release Of Atomic Energy": Part 4 - "A Veteran's Readjustment"

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

One of the first tasks in this new world would be to clean up the detritus of the old one. Most significant perhaps was the debris of wartime experiences, which could haunt men and women coming home to civilian life from military service. Some of them had witnessed horrendous scenes of devastation, destruction, and death. Some of them had personally heard “the flying bullet down the pass that whistles clear,” had learned indeed how “flesh is grass.” And some, traumatized by their experiences, found it hard to assimilate and move beyond them later in peacetime surroundings. If wounds from psychic trauma continued to bleed into their civilian life, they might get a diagnostic label; in this war, e.g., “battle fatigue”, “combat exhaustion”, and “combat neurosis”.

Korzybski knew from personal experience what it could be like to cope on the battlefield and afterwards. He considered it a matter of great concern. All through the war he had gotten letters from soldiers and flyers from around the world, not all of them his personal students, reporting on their experiences and asking for his help. One letter from an American fighter pilot in England, dated May 5, 1943, covers the issues of the sanity of fighting men rather well. After thanking Korzybski for Science and Sanity, which he had found enlightening, he noted that returning soldiers, however sound in body, might be “...warped and twisted in their minds, rendered less than ‘human’ because they found battle ‘not what they expected it to be.’”
I have made every effort to avoid the false identifications in this matter of battle, identifications I have observed in many of my fellow pilots. I have sensed, up until recently, how I must avoid certain sure pitfalls—and with the tools you have given me, I am even more confident of myself—but that solves the problem for me alone.  
Why don’t you apply yourself to this particular aspect of sanity and write a pamphlet specifically designed for soldiers? I realize that the aim of general semantics involves a complete reorientation of the individual’s outlook, but I think specific local applications of the system can be applied usefully. (17) 
Some of Korzybski’s students, like Douglas Kelley and Elwood Murray had been working on just that.

Kelley, who had become a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Medical Corps, served as Chief Consultant in Clinical Psychology and Assistant Consultant in Psychiatry to the European Theatre of Operations. He worked with psychiatric casualties from “combat exhaustion” in army hospitals in England prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy and in Belgium afterwards. He and his associates devised a program of treatment involving intensive but brief classes and group counseling sessions based primarily on Korzybski’s educational approach. Kelley also trained non-psychiatrist medical officers, who served in aid stations, exhaustion centers, and Army hospitals. There is some evidence (although statistical data were lost) that the use of these methods with thousands of troops may have had something to do with the apparently reduced number of psychiatric casualties during the D-Day invasion as compared with previous Allied invasions in North Africa and Italy.

As described in a 1946 memorandum written to Vice Admiral Louis E. Denfield by Captain James A. Saunders, Ret. USN, a student of Science and Sanity who worked on the U.S. Senate Committee on Naval Affairs:
The methods used by Doctor Kelley were briefly as follows: 
By means of pictures, charts and lectures the men [receiving treatment for combat exhaustion] were instructed in the structure of the human nervous system, the manner in which it functioned and the relationship between events in the external world and the human nervous system. He taught them physico-mathematical methods of evaluation, including the use of the extensional techniques of thinking. The men who were able to understand and use the new methods of evaluation were able to reevaluate their combat experiences and overcome their psychoneuroses. They were also able to use the new methods of evaluation and make appropriate adjustments to the new experiences they encountered in combat in the European Theatre of Operations. (18)

Kelley wrote a paper on this work, “The Use of General Semantics And Korzybskian Principles As An Extensional Method of Group Psychotherapy In Traumatic Neurosis”, eventually published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases in 1951. In his paper, Kelley described his classes in sufficient detail for others to test it by replicating his work.

At the IGS seminar-workshop, the war had just ended when some of the students put on a skit “G.I. Joe Comes Home” for a near-the-end-of seminar celebration party. But even before the end of the war, G.I. Joes had been coming home, some of them with significant problems of adjustment. Elwood Murray had had a Pacific war veteran in one of his general-semantics classes at the University of Denver. The veteran “discharged from the army because of his ‘nervous disability’ ” was—as Korzybski described him—“the only survivor of a Japanese bombing of a group of fifteen of his buddies.” Murray’s evening class consisted of one lecture a week for ten weeks. The veteran struggled to apply what he was learning and wrote an end-of-term paper that Korzybski, who was in contact with both Murray and the veteran, considered of exceptional value in demonstrating what was possible from explicitly using extensional methods. In the summer of 1945, Korzybski wrote up his commentary on the veteran’s paper as a case study in the application of his work. He put this together with the veteran’s paper as an article, which he entitled “A Veteran’s Readjustment and Extensional Methods”. In it he recounted a number of his own wartime experiences and how he dealt with them.

In a Foreword eventually published with the article, Douglas Kelley provided a useful summary :
War produces a series of situational stresses which result in the development of profound changes in an individual’s psychosomatic structures. Korzybski’s paper demonstrates many excellent examples of these changes which are best understood in terms of Pavlovian conditional systems. The veteran’s reaction to rice and maggots, his aversion to special noises, his fear of low-flying aeroplanes, and his basic feelings of irritability and resentment are born of a conditioning, the like of which civilization has previously never experienced. No human being can conceive of a more adequate mechanism for twisting human emotion and for developing organismal responses to specific stimuli than is achieved in an active battle zone. 
Following the development of primary symptoms we find, as Korzybski puts it, the occurrence of second-order reactions ‘such as fear of fear, nervousness about nervousness, and worry about worry.’ General semantics, as a modern scientific method, offers techniques which are of extreme value both in the prevention and cure of such reactive patterns. (19)

By 1945, Korzybski had become even more insistent that many of the problems psychiatrists dealt with could not be viewed as simply medical. Specialized psychiatric approaches overlapped considerably with the educational and preventive general methodology of evaluation—physico-mathematical in structure—he had formulated. If more psychiatrists and others realized this, it would enhance psychiatric, medical and educational practice. Korzybski had been writing to many of his psychiatrist friends about this and in the following year published a memorandum he had written, “Some Excerpts From Letters To Psychiatrists...”. In the “Veteran’s Readjustment” paper, he noted:
The importance of non-medical, scientific methodological training for extensionalization must be emphasized here. In our work we are striving for neurological thalamo-cortical integration through scientific method alone, which occurs empirically, if the students are willing enough to co-operate and work. This particular veteran did co-operate, and took his retraining seriously. Without medical help in the narrow sense, he did improve steadily, and probably will recover completely. He is probably not psychiatrically ill but just naturally disturbed. We will have to deal with large numbers of such cases with a very restricted number of available psychiatrists. In our records we have a number of similar communications from all battlefronts about the benefits derived from studying extensional methods through Science and Sanity, etc., which might be called ‘bibliotherapy.’ 
In many ways, such results should be expected because modern extensional methods are prior to any science, medicine and psychiatry included. ...(20)

Korzybski submitted the article to ETC. at the end of the year and felt dismayed when the journal’s Editorial Committee turned it down. Korzybski was told that although Congdon and Hayakawa liked it, one or more psychiatrists who were consulted felt that the paper ‘stunk’. Korzybski wrote a ‘protest’ letter to Wendell Johnson, one of the journal’s editorial associates, which may have had some effect since the piece finally got published in the Summer 1946 issue of ETC., (Volume III, No. 4). The American Journal of Psychiatry also published part of the article in the “Clinical Notes” section of its July 1946 issue (Vol. 103, No. 1).

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
17. Copy of a letter to A. Korzybski from an American fighter pilot. IGS Scrapbook 2.228, AKDA. 

18. “Brief Resume of Facts, Conclusions and Recommendations Contained in Memorandum to Vice Admiral Louis E. Denfield, U. S. Navy, Dated 27 September 1946”. IGS Archives. 

19. “Foreword by Lt. Col. Douglas M. Kelley” in Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, p. 541. 

20. Korzybski. “A Veteran’s Re-adjustment and Extensional Methods”, in Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, p. 542-543. 

< Part 3      Part 5 >

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chapter 57 - "Release Of Atomic Energy": Part 3 - "Release of Atomic Energy"

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

On August 6 and 9, U.S. planes dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 15, two days after Korzybski began his lectures at the IGS’s 1945 Summer Seminar-Workshop, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced his country’s unconditional surrender. Korzybski told his students that the world had forever changed. (12) 

The fateful bombings had resulted from the accelerating acceleration of war technology. They signaled that human history had reached a clear new chapter based on a simple ‘secret’—exponential growth. The fission bombs depended upon harnessing a chain reaction, an exponential function, within the uranium atom. Several years before, only a few blocks from the IGS’s 1234 E. 56th Street address, physicist Enrico Fermi and his team of scientists and technicians had built a crude atomic reactor in a squash court underneath the grandstand seats of the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field Stadium. On December 2, 1942 they achieved history’s first self-sustaining controlled nuclear fission reaction there and demonstrated the key to the tremendous power later unleashed by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. Fermi’s reactor produced an exponential release of neutrons from uranium 235 nuclei struck by other random neutrons released in the process of radioactive decay. When the amount of uranium reached a critical mass the release of more nuclei resulted in a chain reaction. Cadmium rods inserted into the reactor kept the chain reaction in check and could stop it. The exponential process and the enormous amounts of energy released, had the potential to take a controlled form for peacetime atomic power plants or, in the form of bombs, could yield a devastating force. Over the last several years, the U.S. government had rallied scientists and engineers in a tremendous top-secret effort to build such bombs (in the hope they could beat the Nazis at that game). The multi-centered enterprise, with some initial research done in New York City, was known as the Manhattan Project. With the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts, the Manhattan Project secret suddenly became public knowledge. The general public had a definite interest in both the principles and the details involved in atomic research—all to the good from Korzybski’s point of view.(13) 

During the 1945 seminar, Korzybski wrote a short article “Release of Atomic Energy”, in which he registered some of his main concerns about the new world situation. The technical control of chain reactions in the atomic realm would lead to disaster, unless the concurrent development of beneficial social chain reactions involving the general release of time-binding energies took place. As he had emphasized in Manhood of Humanity, the growth of human ethical-social-political-economic life had to catch up to the exponential growth in the more limited exact-science/technical realm. As he had harped on even more since the publication of Science and Sanity, humans could only consciously marshal their time-binding energies through the extension of what he called “scientific method” or an extensional orientation into all areas of society and life. In the article he wrote,
The releasing of atomic energy is the attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. It took endless patient research work, but what guided the research workers? It was the physico-mathematical method, common to them. Dealing with human beings, who are also mysterious and confusing, it is found in general semantics that the physico-mathematical method can also be applied in solving the complex individual and group human evaluations. Our experience shows that the application of physico-mathematical methods to life orientation helps people, and can be taught even in elementary schools, which involves a revision of our educational methods. The ‘great books’ of the thomists, Mortimer Adler, etc., have to be supplemented and to a large degree supplanted by atomist studies. (14)

Korzybski pointed out that, “One of the consequences of the latest discoveries is that the old methods of warfare become obsolete.”
...In the future a few aeroplanes and a few hundreds of atomic bombs would eliminate a New York, a Chicago, a Paris or London, or a new Berlin and a new Tokyo. Scientific discoveries do not remain secrets. It means that any aggressor at a very cheap price will be able to conquer continents, and be annihilated himself.  
This fact alone requires new kinds of social and government control. One of the human consequences may be that devastating wars will cease to happen, as no nation wants to deliberately suicide...The atomic bomb, one of the most world-shaking discoveries ever made, is due to the application of physico-mathematical methods. The utilization of atomic energy in a constructive way will benefit you and me. This discovery as connected with education affects our human adjustment to a universe now better understood. But it will not be a simple task to make the necessary revisions of existing economic, political, sociological, educational, etc., theories. The obstacles are serious, and it will require concerted and strenuous efforts to change the dogmas canalized in our nervous systems for hundreds or thousands of years. (15)

Korzybski provided an example of these kinds of dogmas in the American acceptance—with the Japanese surrender—of the continuation of the Emperor Hirohito’s symbolic rule. Korzybski felt concerned about the strong possibility of prolonging the atavistic Shintoist orientation, which he felt needed to be removed as an active element from Japanese culture. He concluded the article, eventually published in the Winter 1946 [1945-1946] issue of ETC., by saying,
Another irony of fate, emphasized even in newspapers, is that some dictators helped our victory through their racial, religious, and political persecutions. The atomic energy release has been accomplished by mathematical physicists of many nations, many of whom are refugees from Nazi and Fascist intolerance, and continued their work in free countries. It is good to be free, but our freedom depends on infinite-valued flexibility, essential to science, and away from Nazi and Shinto ritualism. Scientific method is the only solution for a new system of education. The main lesson we should learn from the latest scientific discoveries is that we are entering a new world, and to comprehend it and adjust ourselves to it requires those infinite-valued orientations which are at the foundation of the brilliant achievements in the exact sciences. (16) 

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
12. Billie Jane Baguley (who attended the 1945 Seminar-Workshop). Personal Communication with author, Sept. 2005. 

13. By 1947 mousetrap models of the chain reaction in an ‘atomic bomb’ began to get written about in journals and even the popular media. Korzybski read about “Atomic Mousetraps” in Science News and decided that he had to have one in his seminars to demonstrate the important notion of chain reactions, which he wanted students to realize as ubiquitous in science and life. For him it wasn’t sufficient to explain ‘concepts’ like this; they had to be seen, heard, and felt to ‘get under the skin’. The demonstration he used in his 1948-1949 Winter Intensive seminar involved an array of mousetraps set up in a large box with a glass front (for viewing) and a closed top (for protection) with a hole in it. The traps were set and arranged on the floor of the box in columns of about five traps arranged in cross-rows of 10 or so in close proximity. Two hard candies, representing ‘neutrons’ had been balanced on the spring of each trap. Then Ralph Hamilton, one of Korzybski’s assistants at the time, dropped another single ‘neutron’ candy (raspberry flavored, by the way) through the hole in the top of the box to trigger one trap below, which sent its two ‘neutrons’ flying within the box. Each one set off another two ‘neutrons’, and so on. Within a few seconds the whole ‘bomb’ of about 50 mousetrap ‘atoms’ had exploded with dramatic results. [This description of the IGS Atomic Mousetrap demonstration came from interviews with Ralph Hamilton and David Linwood [Levine], both of whom assisted Korzybski at seminars in the late 1940s.] 

14. Korzybski, “Release of Atomic Energy (August 1945), Etc.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. III (2), Winter 1946. Reprinted in Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, p. 537. 15. Ibid., p. 537-538. 

16. Ibid., p. 538.

< Part 2      Part 4 >

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chapter 57 - "Release Of Atomic Energy": Part 2 - "Mathematics as a Way of Life"

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

For several years, Korzybski had been corresponding with Jekuthiel Ginsburg, a mathematician at Yeshiva University in New York City. In 1932, with some mathematician friends, including Cassius Keyser, Ginsburg had founded the journal Scripta Mathematica, devoted to the history and philosophy of mathematics with an extra emphasis on humanistic and educational aspects of the discipline. Ginsburg had a special interest in conveying the excitement of mathematics to beginning students and non-mathematicians.(3) He was known for addressing such groups by asking each audience member to take an 81/2 by 11 inch piece of paper and use a scissors to cut a hole in it big enough to pass a piano through. (By the end of the session he would demonstrate how to do it.)(4) 

Scripta Mathematica became known for its articles geared to a general audience. Ginsburg had probably met Korzybski through Keyser, and in late 1944 invited Korzybski to lecture to the Friends of Scripta Mathematica group on January 31 and February 1 at the Horace Mann Auditorium at Columbia University’s Teachers College. For Korzybski, his two lectures on “Mathematics as a Way of Life” gave him an opportunity to return to some of the core issues which had originally inspired him. He gave a summary of his work geared to the group of mathematicians and mathematics educators and interested laypersons who attended. They received him with polite interest, even enthusiasm. 

One of those listeners, Edward Kasner—Keyser’s successor as Adrain Professor of Mathematics at Columbia—had long admired Korzybski and his work, starting with Manhood of Humanity. Kasner had already served for several years as an Honorary Trustee of the IGS. He considered Korzybski a “gifted” thinker of “keen intellect” and “broad humanitarian interest.”(5) Korzybski, in turn, had loved Kasner’s 1940 book Mathematics and the Imagination (written with James Newman), which he recommended highly to his seminar students.

I haven’t found any copies of Korzybski’s 1945 lectures but some notion of what he talked about can be gathered from a letter he wrote to Kasner several months later. Some people would continue to think Korzybski was advocating some complicated plan to get people to ‘talk in mathematical logic’, and thus to convert everyday speech into some kind of formal and esoteric jargon. But, as he wrote to Kasner, what Korzybski was proposing as ‘the mathematical way of life’ had little if anything to do with the formal side of mathematics:
In this connection I feel like quoting Herman Weyl from his ‘Mathematical Way of Thinking’ published in SCIENCE of November 15, 1940...: ‘Indeed, the first difficulty the man in the street encounters when he is taught to think mathematically is that he must learn to look things much more squarely in the face; his belief in words must be shattered; he must learn to think more concretely.’  
Here I would introduce a fundamental correction: Instead of saying ‘more concretely’ it should be said ‘in terms of facts’. This is a serious correction because our ‘feelings’, ‘imaginations’, etc., are matters of facts yet they hardly could be called ‘concrete’. (6)
For Korzybski, ‘thinking’ in terms of facts was closely connected with the human capacity to generate numbers. The modus operandi of the non-aristotelian orientation boiled down to practices as ‘simple’ as using the extensional devices which he had taken for the most part directly from mathematical notation. Their apparent simplicity was deceptive. Even for those who saw the mathematical connection, it was much more difficult to actually use these ‘simple’ devices in daily life—even for mathematicians.
...Hardly anybody could admire your work and the works of men like Einstein, Weyl, and others, more than I do. But, frankly speaking, these works do not give a modus operandi for how to bring about the wisdom you formulate on the level of elementary education. (7) 

A highlight of his Scripta lectures for Korzybski was seeing Keyser face to face after many years apart (although the two men had continued to correspond). In a letter to Keyser later that year, Korzybski wrote:
...Yes, dear Dear Old Man, years are going on, and you and I are still not going into the second childhood. We still are struggling, so far for the good.  
I hardly can tell you how I enjoyed seeing you in New York after years and years of absence. I must admit that I was amused when you were still shy of my hugging you and giving you a kiss. 
Hell with your shyness; any time I would see you I would hug you and kiss you and give you my love, no matter what kind of violet you will play. Tell your lady she should not be jealous, as I am only an old man. Give to her our best. (8) 

Korzybski remained in New York City to give a seminar at the New York University Faculty Club from February 3 to 14. It went very well. As he wrote to Kasner, “It was a fine and lovely group of around fifty-five students, mature, mostly professional. They were very receptive, and because of it, my delivery was unusually satisfactory, as I hear.”(9) Some of the participants had formed a New York Society for General Semantics. Eleanor Wolff and the other organizers of the group got Major Irving J. Lee, then in New York, to lecture to them after Korzybski left. A few months later, they sent $300, the receipts from Lee’s lecture course, as a contribution to the Institute.
February 1945, New York University, Korzybski and Kendig standing.
In the spring of 1945, world developments certainly seemed more promising than they had seemed in quite some time. Although Franklin D. Roosevelt had died on April 12, his worthy successor Harry S. Truman competently carried on the duties of a wartime president. By this time, the Nazi regime in Germany was finished. Hitler committed suicide at the end of April. Although the war with Japan was continuing, VE (Victory in Europe) Day was declared on May 8 with the unconditional surrender of Germany one day before. People were already being demobilized from the armed services.

Things were looking up for the IGS too, with increased demand for programs now that people were coming home from the war. The Institute was planning not only the second annual summer seminar-workshop, but also another introductory course by Chisholm, and in the late fall both an introductory and an advanced seminar with Korzybski in San Francisco, in addition to his regular Holiday Intensive. It looked as if, with the increased seminar income, the Institute would be able to squeak by for another year. (Although it would still not have enough money to get Korzybski off the treadmill of giving one seminar after another with little time for creative work or the development of the new programs he hoped for.)

Even with the war coming to an end, Korzybski did not seem exactly full of bubbly cheer. A good deal of his dampened mood may have resulted from accumulated fatigue and a sense of his own increasing physical limitations. On May 4, he wrote to Douglas Campbell,
As to my health, I just carry on, thoroughly paralyzed by lack of help. With Pearl ill, Ann [Cleveland] married, what is left here of the old staff are Kendig and Charlotte, and the rest are accidentals, mostly lousy and hard to get these days. I do not accomplish as much as I should. My war 1 hernia is bothering me more and more. I am too old to have an operation and the g.d. diaphragm trouble here and there affects my breathing and so eventually even my heart., which still is in very good shape. I am all right at the Institute and lecturing, but I have difficulties traveling or delivering lectures elsewhere. I may still survive for a while. (10) 

Alfred’s relationship with Mira seemed to have passed a milestone the previous year. Except for a brief flurry of upset then, regarding an autobiography she had written for Who’s Who, Alfred finally seemed to have come to grips with Mira’s gifts and the benign nature of her sometimes careless (to him) previous manner of public expression. By 1945, from the evidence of their ongoing correspondence, he had ended his recriminations. The two maintained a loving relationship until the end of his life. Having attended eight seminars and having steeped herself in reading and study for several years, Mira had come to a deeper appreciation of her own educational gaps and the true measure of Alfred’s achievements. She seemed at last to feel comfortable with a quiet role in the background of Alfred’s work. She read, attended lectures, sent him notes, and offered suggestions, which he often heeded. She could see he appreciated her intelligence, her dedicated personal application of extensional methodology, and her help. In turn, she also came to realize that ultimately, he had done his work and continued to do it—as he had told her—primarily for her sake. 

Alfred and Mira, circa 1945-1946

Now, Alfred had serious concerns about her health. In 1944, she had begun to have significant attacks of crippling pain in her arms, hands, knees, etc. It had hobbled her at times and though the attacks seemed to pass she had had to stop painting altogether. Both she and Alfred had concerns about the prognosis of what was diagnosed as “transient arthritis”. How were they going to pay for her care and possible treatments? Another worry developed at the beginning of the year—she had serious gum infections that required surgery, tooth extractions, and extensive denture work. At least she was now getting these problems dealt with.

Her physician had referred her to Dr. Dick, an arthritis specialist and director of medicine at nearby Billings Hospital, associated with the University of Chicago. Dick was interested in Mira’s case and found her such an observant and helpful patient that he offered her free treatment in exchange for her willingness to serve as a ‘guinea pig’. Dick arranged for the hospital to cover the cost of her treatments and even of her dental surgery. He had admitted her to the hospital for several weeks in April but finally released her at the beginning of May as her symptoms subsided and she felt antsy about getting back home.

When she collected her mail from the janitor of her building, she—and then Alfred—got shocking news. A letter from Walter Polakov postmarked May 2 from Washington, D.C. had the following short note inside: “Dearest Edgy and Alfred, Barbara shot herself on the 26th. Polly”. Walter wrote a more extensive note dated April 27:
Edgy dear: 
Yesterday at 1:07 p.m. Barbara committed suicide by blowing her brains out. I was serving dinner. She could no longer endure, I suppose, the memories of her youth and childhood as she turned out to be again an invalid. T.B. returned full blast under war conditions. I need not tell you more. You can understand the unsaid. I grew so much a part of her and she of me. Not a thought and emotion were separated. No action without mutual agreement.  
                                                                               Walter Polly
P.S. I am returning to Fairfax, Virginia (11)
What could either Alfred or Mira do to console their longtime friend? Not much. At least they had remained in contact with Walter and Barbara—however sporadically—over the last few years and they would continue to do so with Walter.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
Chapter 57 – “Release of Atomic Energy”
3. Jekuthiel Ginsburg Obituary, 10/8/1957. New York Times. 

4. “Paper and Piano Puzzle Explained”, 10/10/1957. New York Times. 

5. Kasner, “Foreword” to the Second Edition of Manhood of Humanity, p. xv. 

6. AK to Edward Kasner, 5/15/1945. IGS Archives. 

7. Ibid. 

8. AK to Cassius Keyser, 9/22/1945. IGS Archives. 

9. AK to Edward Kasner, 5/15/1945. IGS Archives. 

10. AK to Douglas Campbell, 5/4/1945. IGS Archives. 

11. Walter Polakov to MEK, 4/27/1945. AK Archives, Box 22, Folder 3.

< Part 1      Part 3 >

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chapter 57 - "Release Of Atomic Energy": Part 1 - Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Despite the fact that Hayakawa’s work in ETC. had begun to get more bothersome, Korzybski had continued to send in contributions and Hayakawa continued to publish them.(1) Korzybski’s contributions (forewords and reviews of articles and books from the fields of psychiatry, education, biology, physics, etc.) provided updates to the background research material he had used in Science and Sanity. They also reflected an issue that had pulled on his attention for some time. The authors of these articles and books were pointing out the need for explicitly acknowledging the value orientation of the sciences, the need for integration among different areas of study, and the need for application of scientific attitudes and approaches to social problems. Although they pointed out such needs, these authors for the most part failed to indicate practical means for fulfilling them. Korzybski considered it important to point out that his methodology, explicitly dealing with neuro-evaluational and neuro-linguistic issues, provided that missing factor of application. As he had written to Keyser in the fall of 1943, 
Under separate cover I am sending to you the first issue of ETC: A REVIEW OF GENERAL SEMANTICS. On my insistence the first number of the ETC opened with Thorndike’s ‘Science and Values’. Please note my foreword. I endorsed that article thoroughly and yet does it work? It does not. And it takes our particular training to make it workable. We are in an empirical field and we count the results. In the next issue of ETC we are publishing, also with my foreword, the presidential address of Langmuir, and a paper of Bell on Greek mathematics. The difficulties again are the same; we can say ‘fine, fine, fine’ and no doubt they are fine. As an engineer I ask ‘does that work?’ and the answer is unfortunately ‘no’. We need a whole discipline as shown in forty hours of seminars, the extensional method as I call it, to make it work. We are having results, which as far as I am concerned, is all that matters. (2)

Perhaps more than anything else Korzybski wanted to get across to people this message of application. As he would often say, with every seminar he learned something more about how to do this—especially in regard to the obstacles related to students’ preconceived attitudes and corresponding psycho-logical difficulties. He also felt concerned about the obstacles involved in conveying his work to individuals (not just his students) from different groups: individuals within a particular group might share common ‘problematic’ attitudes. In 1945, he found new opportunities to address two of the main groups he had long sought to influence: mathematicians and psychiatrists.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 

1. In the Discussion section of ETC ’s 1944-1945 Winter issue, Hayakawa had reprinted an article, “Semantics, General Semantics: An Attempt At Definition”, that he had originally written for the Dictionary of World Literature. In the article, Hayakawa defined ‘General Semantics’ under the term ‘Semantics’, which from Korzybski’s view—at this point in the development of his work—confused the two disciplines. Hayakawa also referred to the extensional devices as ‘semantic devices’—an inaccuracy in terms of Korzybski’s usage, which Korzybski believed, increased the confusion. Perhaps most bothersome, Hayakawa had written this original article, had it published, and then reprinted it in ETC., without consulting Korzybski at any step. See Korzybski’s ‘Protest letter to the editor of ETC.’ in Alfred Korzybski Collected Writings, p. 820. 

2. AK to C. J. Keyser, 10/6/1943, IGS Archives.

Part 2 >

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chapter 56 - Time To Try New Things: Part 6 - Autumn News

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Korzybski, who followed the news closely, must have been aware of the debacle occuring in Poland, even as the war seemed to be coming to an end. D-Day, the successful invasion of Normandy in June, had marked another turning point. Germany was getting squeezed from all sides between British and American forces from the west and the Soviets from the east—small comfort for the Poles. In August as the Soviet army reached the eastern suburbs of Warsaw, it stopped. Stalin had decided to let the Germans level Warsaw. The Germans focused their remaining forces and weaponry on defeating the Polish Home Army, which had begun an uprising in Warsaw. A quarter of a million citizens in the Polish capital were killed before the uprising was over in October. Before the Germans withdrew from the city, they destroyed as much of it as they could and exiled a large portion of its population. Whatever agony Korzybski may have felt (and I guess that he felt a great deal), he kept it inside. There was nothing he could do about the situation in Warsaw. And the situation at home, as always, required his attention.

The Institute had gotten even more short of help in June when Pearl Johnecheck came down with a serious infection, either measles or scarlet fever. As 1944 advanced into autumn, she developed some kind of rheumatic heart condition. She could no longer continue her studies or her work at the Institute. She would do what she could do to help and would remain in close contact with Mira (with whom she had grown close), Alfred, and the other people at the Institute. But by the next year, she would be hospitalized before beginning a slow recovery in the last half of 1945. Charlotte Schuchardt, still hoping to develop a career in dance, had been working as Korzybski’s editorial assistant and as the main instructor of the seminar-workshop ‘neuro-semantic relaxation’ sessions—besides myriad other office and organizational duties. Now she took over Pearl’s job as Korzybski’s confidential secretary and Institute office manager.

The shortage of money also remained a pressing concern. A report at the end of 1944 would indicate that they were $10,000 short of their $20,000 short-term fundraising goal. They would need $10,000 more in pledges soon just to allow them to continue operating until the end of 1945 at what had become their normal, bare-to-the-bone level—with little extra for new programs, additional staff, etc.

Before the summer seminar-workshop, Kendig had applied for a grant from the Field Foundation to fund the IGS project in leadership training, which she and Korzybski had been hoping to develop for a number of years. She had an interview in New York with the foundation’s executive director, Maxwell Hahn. The foundation, a charitable trust started by Chicago Sun publisher Marshall Field III, had a special interest in programs related to fighting racial prejudice. Kendig had tried to focus her conversation with Hahn on Korzybski’s work in relation to prejudice and social tensions. Kendig had arranged and annotated for Hahn a selection of reviews, articles, and reprints. She also had Elwood Murray send materials about the many general-semantics related programs at the University of Denver and elsewhere, including a course on “Minority Problems in Denver”. Even with this impressive array of materials and courses, the Field Foundation turned down Kendig’s grant application in October. She would continue to try to get grant money from them, to no avail.

Despite the Institute’s struggle to survive, 1944 saw a surprising amount of public interest in Korzybski’s work. Life magazine commissioned Fred Rodell, a law professor at Yale who had done some popular writing, to write an article on GS and politics with Korzybski’s collaboration (Korzybski and Rodell would be listed as co-authors). Rodell, as well as a 
Life photographer, came to see Korzybski before the summer seminar. Eventually, Life decided not to carry the article, entitled “A Word to the Wise”. and sold it to Liberty magazine, which published it in its November 4 edition. To Korzybski the article seemed like a mishmosh due to faulty editing, but without question it brought publicity.

Korzybski’s books were selling like never before. Manhood of Humanity had completely sold out. With continuing demand for it, the Institute put out a call for used copies. It was listed as “temporarily out of print” on the Institute booklist. It would remain ‘temporarily out of print’ for the next six years. E.P. Dutton no longer had an interest in continuing with it. Mira, who had long reminded Alfred of the importance of time-binding for his ongoing work, urged him to begin writing an introduction to a new edition. The International Non-Aristotelian Library Publishing Company would publish it. He worked on it in fits and starts until the end of his life, but with other projects, various interruptions, and the exceptionally demanding standards for publication that he had come to impose on his own writing, he never completed it. (The second edition, with additional material by him and others, came out in 1950, a few months after his death.)

The demand for Science and Sanity in 1944 seems even more remarkable. The Institute sold four times as many copies as were sold in any previous year since the original publication of the book, just a little over 10 years before. They had already had to do some reprintings of the Second Edition. Later, in the spring of 1945, the book became unavailable for a number of months due to labor problems and paper shortages.

Even with the reduced demand for his seminars, Korzybski and the people at the Institute remained extremely busy. In August, Korzybski had gone with Kendig to Denver where they both lectured as part of the University of Denver’s summer workshop in improved communication, based on general semantics. While there, Korzybski spoke to the psychiatrists’ group at Fitzsimmons Hospital. Meanwhile at the Institute, Francis Chisholm began giving a six-session evening course, “Introduction to General Semantics”, over three weeks in August. Chisholm had left his position at Syracuse University and was going to begin teaching at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri in the fall. About 40 people attended his course, which was transcribed and published by the Institute that winter as Introductory Lectures in General Semantics. Chisholm had been working at the Institute over the summer and seemed to Korzybski and Kendig like the kind of leader they wanted to encourage and develop. Kendig, whose professional background included curriculum development and educational research had long seen the need for a “so-called standard course which [could] be used in ‘controlled experiments.’ ” Chisholm had begun researching and designing such a course or at least an outline/syllabus that could serve to standardize courses in this way. (29) 

Much of these Institute doings were reported in an Autumn 1944, General Semantics Newsletter written by Kendig and sent out near the end of the year along with another fundraising notice. The newsletter noted an additional bit of promotional news for the Society for General Semantics. The Society had consolidated its business office with the editorial office of ETC. at the Illinois Institute of Technology (formerly the Armour Institute), where Hayakawa worked. The item noted that Karl Hauch, the Society’s Secretary-Treasurer, would be glad to receive membership applications and renewals. Given the difficult wartime circumstances, the Society for General Semantics, at the end of its first membership year, seemed to be doing rather well, which promised to add to the Institute coffers too. The Institute had managed to survive for another year.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
29. General Semantics Newsletter, Autumn 1944, AKDA Scrapbook 4.79.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chapter 56 - Time To Try New Things: Part 5 - 'A Deaf Ear'

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

Hayakawa had gotten some pieces of general semantics but had insufficiently grasped the system that connected them. You could get to some useful places by climbing his ladder. He had skillfully translated Korzybski’s new vision into the old elementalistic language that people could use without getting too discomforted. But at a certain point, you would have to kick away the ladder after you had climbed it, in order to understand and make use of Korzybski’s more comprehensive and radical approach.

Korzybski was becoming more concerned about Hayakawa’s lapses, especially since Hayakawa had come to appear to more and more people as a major spokesman for his work. At this point, he had written to Hayakawa about some of these issues in a friendly way. Despite these differences there seemed little rancor between the two men in the summer of 1944. They still seemed like friends. But trouble had been brewing.

As early as 1940, Kendig had written a memo to Alfred discussing some of these issues. It had bothered them that Hayakawa had never had a personal interview with Korzybski, nor attended a complete seminar (and as noted before, typically fell asleep when he sat in on Alfred’s lectures). He later explained he got bored hearing Korzybski repeating the ‘same’ things he already ‘knew’.(12) So much for ‘Lecture
1 is not Lecture2, Lecture2 is not Lecture3, etc.’—the form of which Hayakawa had enthusiastically praised as “the most simple, most general, and most efficient of the rules for extensionalization.”(13) But Hayakawa didn’t follow his own rules, as he admitted in a 1990 interview with Roy E. Fox:
SIH: I’m not conscious of approaching some things with a non-Aristotelian point of view. 
RF: So to carry general semantics around with you all the time is not something you would advocate? 
SIH: That’s right. To carry it around with you all the time, you’d have to be more obsessed than I have ever been. (14) 

Up until 1944, Korzybski had mainly decided to overlook such things in consideration of the young professor’s merits. On December 2, 1943, he had written a two-page report recommending Hayakawa for a Guggenheim Fellowship.(15) There’s no evidence that Korzybski’s appreciation of Hayakawa’s talents as a teacher, writer, and editor was anything other than entirely genuine. He had agreed to having Hayakawa put the Institute as the nominal publisher of the 1940 second lithographed edition of Language in Action—despite the abstraction ladder. Korzybski had helped Hayakawa get a commercial deal with the Book-of-the-Month Club through his contact with David Fairchild. Despite its flaws, he had spoken well of the book, and of Hayakawa, in public and in private letters. The Institute had promoted the book and reprints of Hayakawa’s articles on its publication list, had promoted his work in seminars, and had honored him by making him an Institute Fellow. Korzybski had expressed delight with his appointment as Editor of ETC. He seemed to think the problems with Hayakawa could be resolved with suggestions and corrections. But it didn’t all depend on Korzybski.

Hayakawa had developed some disparaging notions about Korzybski and some grandiose ones about his own relation to Korzybski’s work. Whatever the reasons, his attitudes toward Korzybski seemed to make Hayakawa impervious to any of Korzybski’s efforts to get through to him. These attitudes are revealed in detail in two remarkable documents—one, an interview-memoir of the Hayakawas conducted in 1989—and later—by Julie Gordon Shearer (publically available on the internet from the University of California, Berkeley); and the 1990 Fox interview, published in ETC. in 1991.

Margedant Peters Hayakawa noted in the Shearer interview that she had felt an instant aversion to Korzybski when she first met him.(16) Despite a number of friendly gestures and invitations to come to seminars and have an interview with him, she assiduously avoided such contacts. Both she and her husband soon came to look at Korzybski in terms of her initial snap judgment: he ‘was’ in their view a dogmatic and demanding dictator who encouraged unquestioning, cultish followers.(17) By the end of their lives, the Hayakawas did not hesitate to cast aspersions about Korzybski’s ‘nuttiness’, his supposed failure to develop his work after writing Science and Sanity, his discouragement of student’s contributions to the development of general semantics, etc. I’m not sure they exactly qualify as lies because the Hayakawas apparently accepted them as innocent truths. The notion that Hayakawa and his wife might be projecting their own issues onto Korzybski and identifying him with their projections never seemed to occur to either one of them. Hayakawa seemed to see every action of Korzybski—every comment and suggestion—as an unreasonable demand for obedience. (18) Perceiving Korzybski thusly and given his own significant drive for power (he later became a controversial university president and then a U.S. Senator) he seemed determined to put himself in the role of “disobedient and disloyal son.”(19) I can imagine a likely reply from Alfred: “I am not your father!”

The Hayakawas still maintained a veneer of pleasantness with Korzybski in 1944. However, Hayakawa’s resentments would become overt, at least behind Korzybski’s back, within the next few years. Much of what he said and did influenced other people’s attitudes toward Korzybski. Much of this eventually got back to Korzybski and his colleagues at the Institute. Hayakawa’s misunderstandings and hostility became not only a significant source of personal pain for Korzybski but a major source of the problems that would occur between the Institute and the Society for General Semantics. And Hayakawa’s influence would help perpetuate misunderstandings about general semantics that continued long after Korzybski’s death.

Hayakawa’s behavior in relation to Korzybski from 1944 on seemed consistent with attitudes he expressed much later: he believed that he—and to a lesser extent Johnson and Lee—had made Korzybski famous and that Korzybski felt jealous of him because of that. In the ETC. interview with Fox, he remarked:
S.I.H.: When my Language in Action became a Book-of the-Month Club selection, that made him furious!....

R.F. [Interviewer Roy Fox]: “So Korzybski thought your book was incomplete? or inaccurate?”

S.I.H. : [Laughing] Just unfair competition! He wanted people to buy his book and not mine! (20) 

At bottom, probably even by 1944, Hayakawa had very mixed feelings about Korzybski, his work, his colleagues, and the Institute. He gave little value to the Institute courses, which he considered ‘religious indoctrination’.(21) Korzybski’s more dedicated students seemed suspect too: “I’m sure there were people who made a kind of cult out of it, and I’m sure Korzybski encouraged it.”(22) In short, the Institute didn’t seem academically respectable to him.(23) To believe this in 1944, he would have had to ignore the fact of Korzybski’s many students from academia who were making use of his work in university courses around the country. However, Hayakawa’s discomfort with Korzybski’s work may eventually have had some self-fulfilling effects on the attitudes of academics with whom Hayakawa interacted and influenced.

As he indicated in the Shearer interview, the Society for General Semantics, not the Institute, represented the future of general semantics for him. Hayakawa believed he had done more than anyone else to make Korzybski and general semantics famous. ETC., which he later claimed to have founded and took credit for naming, constituted for him the main reason for the existence of the Society.(24)  And, as far as he was concerned, ETC. existed as his ballywick. He didn’t intend to have Korzybski interfere with the editing of the journal.(25) He seemed determined to become the major figure in ‘semantics’. He—not Korzybski—would use ETC. to define the field and determine the direction of the discipline. (26) 

At the beginning of the year, the problems with Hayakawa that had remained quiescent for so long began to blossom—quietly at first. In January, Kendig had suggested Francis P. Chisholm as a new Institute Fellow. Hayakawa rejected him. According to the rules they had set up, the appointment of a new Institute Fellow needed unanimous approval of the existing Fellows, so there was nothing else Kendig or Korzybski felt they could do. This surely must have bothered them. They both considered Chisholm to have a solid grasp of the non-aristotelian system-discipline and a gift for communicating it. It surely must have grated on them to have Hayakawa, about whom they already felt some qualms, turn down such a capable individual.

There were also inklings of problems with the editing of ETC. Korzybski and Kendig were listed as “Consulting Editors”. Korzybski certainly saw his role as more than symbolic but Hayakawa seemed lax in consulting with either him or Kendig. Korzybski was contributing pieces to the journal—mostly forewords and commentaries on articles, as well as letters and reviews. He had wanted to see the Tables of Contents of upcoming issues. He had comments and suggestions for Hayakawa, who was not communicating with him about these things as he wished. Hayakawa had also begun publishing some material that Korzybski found questionable.(27) 

Now Hayakawa was planning to publish “Newtonian Physics and Aviation Cadets”, in the Spring 1944 issue of ETC. Korzybski had seen the article by Anatol Rapoport, a mathematician then in the Army Air Corp stationed in Alaska, and liked it a lot: it seemed to provide an exceptional example of the power of hidden assumptions and the usefulness of uncovering them. Korzybski had written a foreword to another article by Jerome Alexander and wanted to do something similar with the Rapoport piece, but didn’t know what was going on with the new issue due to come out soon. He wrote to Hayakawa on March 6, in part to get some information and to make some suggestions about the journal.:
Where in hell did you get the article of Rapoport? It is an extremely fine article, just the kind of stuff we want to publish in ETC. Please let me know the history of this article, how you got it...This article is most important for our work and in many ways a justification for it. 
...I am not happy, and neither is Kendig, that you do not let us know about your plans for every next issue of ETC. We have so much fretting to do and guessing what you might do as an editor. For instance, do you plan to publish in the same number the article of Alexander as a leading article in the next issue ( I didn’t see the proofs yet)?...please don’t torture me in guessing what you will or may do as an editor. I have plenty of guessing to do altogether; I want to know what is going on. And believe me, if I am prevented from advising you about ETC. it will not be for the good of ETC. and yourself. (28)
But Hayakawa seemed to have already turned a deaf ear to Korzybski and his concerns.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
12. Fox, p. 247, Shearer, pp. 79, 126-127. 

13. Language in Action (1940), p. 103-104. 

14. Fox, p. 245. 

15. AK to H. A. Moe, 12/2/1943. Ralph Hamilton Papers. 

16. Shearer, p. 132. 

17. Shearer, pp. 133, 134. It appears that Margedant Hayakawa also avoided Korzybski because both she and her husband believed ‘he was a lech’. S. I. later “recalled”: “...he [Korzybski] offered private and rather intimate “semantic massages” to some women he found especially attractive.” [Haslam,. In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S. I. Hayakawa, p. 109.] Disturbing: that S. I. Hayakawa could so blithely accept and repeat as ‘fact’ what most likely existed as hearsay or as his and his wife’s projection; there is no evidence of any inappropriate incidents that he or she directly observed or reliably knew about. Doubly disturbing: Hayakawa’s biographer, Gerald Haslam, seems to accept as ‘fact’, this unflattering gossip about Korzybski that Hayakawa ‘recalled’. (Myths and misinformation about Korzybski and his work abound. Haslam—who studied with Hayakawa—uncritically repeats in his book [and thus may help perpetuate] other unfavorable canards, projections, and unsubstantiated opinions about Korzybski and his work, from Hayakawa and others; I think a key to the enigma of Hayakawa lies therein.) If I had found any reliable evidence of inappropriate sexual conduct on Korzybski’s part (or of other such egregious activity), I would have openly dealt with it in this biography. I didn’t find any. 

18. Shearer, p. 81–82. 

19. Shearer, p. 78. 

20. Fox, p. 247-248. 

21. Fox, p. 248-249. 

22. Fox, p. 248. 

23. Shearer, p. 130. 

24. Shearer, p. 121, 123. 

25. Shearer, p. 126. 

26. Shearer, p. 123-124. 

27. Korzybski had already written a friendly note to Hayakawa about one such questionable piece. [AK to S.I. Hayakawa, 1/18/1944, Ralph Hamilton Papers.] 

28. AK to S.I. Hayakawa, 3/6/1944, Ralph Hamilton Papers.

< Part 4      Part 6 >